Mayor cautions against getting ‘torn up’ over layoff notices
The federal contractor, which operates the Kentucky Consular Center, has warned all of its 425 employees in Williamsburg that they will be permanently laid off, but this doesn’t necessarily mean those jobs will be going away.
“No one needs to get torn up about that. As far as I know PAE didn’t get their contract renewed but just being around situations as this, I am assuming there will be a new contract,” noted Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison. “I don’t have any feeling we are going to lose that many jobs. My gut feeling is those jobs will return.”
PAE sent the Kentucky Division of Workforce & Employee Services a letter dated Dec. 18, about a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notification, which requires employers to give official notice of a pending mass layoff or permanent closure.
PAE’s Visa Support Services (VSS) contract at the Kentucky Consular Center is due to expire on Feb. 28, 2020, and the company will no longer be the employer on the VSS contract after that date.
“Our customer, the Department of State (DOS), has notified PAE of their decision to re-award the contract and another employer will assume the VSS Contract on or about Feb. 29, 2020,” the letter states.
Employees at the facility will receive their WARN notices by Dec. 30, the letter stated.
Most of the employees at The Kentucky Consular Center don’t work directly for the Department of State, but instead are employed by a federal contractor, which operates the facility.
Those contracts are typically awarded for four to five year periods, and there have been multiple contractors at the Kentucky Consular Center in the history of the facility.
Typically when the contractor changes, the new contractor hires most or all of the existing employees.
FCi federal took over operation of the Kentucky Consular Center in 2015. The company was acquired by PAE in mid-2017.
The Kentucky Consular Center opened on Oct. 25, 2000, with 45 employees to administer the U.S. Diversity Visa program.
Each year 50,000 out of the 55,000 Diversity Visa applications randomly selected from eligible countries are processed through the Williamsburg facility.
In addition, workers at The Kentucky Consular Center also do facial recognition work for about 250 diplomatic posts that are located overseas in addition to work checking for matches on U.S. passports from other states.